2020 Mazda Mazda 3 Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Engine, collision avoidance & brake issues among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

One of the more popular cars on the road today is the 2020 Mazda Mazda 3. The newer models are hailed as being “for those who never stop refining.” Yet, customers are struggling to deal with a defective engine, faulty forward collision avoidance and failing service brakes.

Click on other model year to view more problems:  2019   2021   2022   2023   

Problems with the Engine

Without a reliable engine, no ride can be comfortable. That’s what owners of the Mazda 3 are realizing.

Here’s one Edmunds review worth reading. “I bought this brand new AWD premium Mazda 3 hatchback from [dealer], I had to visit them for service 8 times it’s only 10 k miles on it, I had powertrain problems couple of times and engine system malfunction 3 times, slow wipes engine etc. absolutely disaster. My husband has Audi never had a problem I just can’t believe it’s Japanese brand so, I’m trying to get rid of this junk and never gonna buy any Mazda or Toyota. My opinion is stay away.”

In addition to faulty engines, the fuel system was the focus of class action lawsuit investigations. It turns out Mazda was putting defective fuel pumps in the Mazda 3, causing it to stall or shut down unexpectedly. This led to “substantial risk of injury and death” to occupants. It’s hard to feel comfortable behind the wheel of a car with this level of threat.

2020 Mazda Mazda 3 Complaint Summary

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Forward Collision Avoidance: Automatic Emergency Braking
Forward Collision Avoidance: Warnings
Unknown Or Other
Electrical System
Forward Collision Avoidance: Adaptive Cruise Control
Service Brakes
Fuel/propulsion System
Lane Departure: Assist

Forward Collision Avoidance Problems

Today’s safety systems are designed to protect and keep people from harm, but that’s not what the forward collision avoidance software is doing in the 2020 Mazda3.

Here’s one complaint from the NHTSA. “I was on the Queensboro Bridge headed from Queens, NY into Manhattan on the afternoon of August 29. Weather was partly cloudy and dry conditions. Traffic was bumper to bumper and moving anywhere from 0mph to maybe 5mph. I was in the middle of the bridge driving approximately 5mph and my 2020 Mazda3 beeped (collision warning) and applied brakes. I was almost rear ended and my two passengers were jolted forward. I maintained a safe following distance the entire time. I believe a van on my left triggered my car’s actions as it passed. I was in no danger of getting into an accident although I was quite shaken up since this is the first time my car applied its brakes. … Previously, the car from time to time has alerted of a collision always under 40mph and a previous inspection of my vehicle (after I reported collision warning activation) revealed everything was working properly.”

It turns out that there is a recall for this system. NHTSA Campaign Number 19V907000 discusses how 35,000 vehicles can be equipped with a Smart Brake System that detects objects that don’t exist, leading to automatic braking when it shouldn’t occur. The unintended stopping can lead to an accident. Maybe Mazda should take its own advice and “never stop refining,” at least until it figures out how to make a safe vehicle.

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Problems with the Brakes

As with that last issue, there are some major defects with the brakes in general.

One more NHTSA complaint states, “The contact owns a 2020 Mazda Mazda3. The contact stated while driving 35 MPH, the ABS warning light illuminated, and the brakes locked up and caused the vehicle to stall. The contact was able to restart the vehicle however, the failure persisted. … contact had taken the vehicle to a local dealer to be diagnosed however, the dealer was not able to duplicate the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was approximately 2,000.”

Additionally, there’s a brake-related recall. NHTSA Campaign Number 20V346000 says that affected vehicles have front brake caliper mounting bolts that weren’t tightened correctly on the assembly line. This mistake causes the calipers to loosen and possibly fall off, thereby reducing braking performance. It’s just one more way Mazda isn’t looking out for its clients but rather putting them at the forefront of danger. Remember when the company’s tagline was “Zoom-Zoom?” Now it should be “Bye-Bye.”

Your Lemon Law Legal Rights

Think you have a lemon? Sit back and let the experts work out your lemon case at no cost to you. The law makes Mazda pay legal fees. You may be able to get your lemon out of your life. Every year, auto manufacturers buy back, replace or pay cash settlements to thousands of ‘lemon’ owners like you.

Brian Jones

About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 30 years working as an ASE Certified Master Tech and Parts Specialist at multiple dealerships. Brian has become an authority in the industry, traveling across the country to consult for car dealerships and contributing his expertise as a writer for several major automotive publications. In his spare time, Brian enjoys working on pickup trucks, muscle cars, Jeeps and anything related to motorsports.

See more posts from Brian Jones

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